Lethbridge musician Leeroy Stagger is proud to present his brand new CD, “Love Versus.” The first single, “I Want it All,” is already getting a lot of buzz and airplay on modern rock stations including local modern rock station The Bridge 98.1.
“The Bridge was the first to play it and a lot of others followed. So I’m thankful they gave me a chance,” said Stagger, before embarking on a busy year of touring with bandmates, bassist Tyson Maiko, guitarist/mandolinist/banjo player Ryland Moranz, keyboardist Michael Ayotte and a rotating cast of drummers including Kyle Harmon, Nick Steczs and Bramwell Park which began Friday, April 7.
He returns to Lethbridge to play a special show for the Geomatic Attic May 6 with JJ Shiplett.
He is pleased with how his eleventh CD turned out, as well he should be as it includes the production talents of producer Colin Stewart, who also has also worked with Dan Mangan, Black Mountain and Yukon Blonde. He put together a crack band including Deep Dark Woods’ keyboardist Geoff Hillhorst, Neko Case guitarist Paul Rigby and longtime Elvis Costello drummer Pete Thomas, who came up from L.A. to work on Stagger’s album.
“Pete even played with McCartney. So that’s cool,” Stagger enthused.
“It was cool. We sat around my kitchen and talked about the songs,” he said.
“Tyson’s played with me for 15 years and Geoff has played on a couple of my albums. And Colin Stewart had a different approach,” he continued.
Stagger asked his longtime friend Joel Plaskett to add vocals to “Crooked Old World.”
“We’ve been friends for a long time. My band used to open for him when he played Victoria. I wrote it with him in mind, but the next best thing was to get him to sing on it. He recorded it in his Dartmouth Studio near Halifax,” Stagger said.
“This is my most fully realized album yet. There isn’t a song I’m not proud of on it. There’s no filler. After 11 albums, there’s no room for it,” he said, noting this album christened his brand new home studio, which he and his friends built after Stagger won the top prize in the PEAK Performance music competition.
“We just finished moving gear in in February and three days later we were recording,” he said.
He is excited to play several United States dates in support of the CD.
One of the more interesting songs on the new CD is “Run Rabbit Run,” which not only has a compelling story but an interesting mid song time tempo change.
“I saw an old picture from the 1950s of my grandpa next to an old Triumph motorcycle and he was wearing a jacket that said ‘Saints’ on the back. It turned out he was part of one of Victoria’s first biker gangs. He always told stories of a character named Dirty Bill and I knew that would end up in a song. He didn’t say a lot about the biker gang, but my grandma told some stories,” Stagger said.
Another highlight is “Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone.”
“I grew up admiring those guys and with everything happening today, I started wondering what Joe Strummer would be singing about today. Who do kids today grow up idolizing?,” Stagger said.
“Joe Strummer and Joey Ramone were my prophets,” he added.
In addition to recording his own CD, he is also recording a few other projects in his studio including Calgary’s Mariel Buckley and local jazz/folk band the Junkman’s Quire.
As well as supporting the new CD, Leeroy Stagger has also started a new 8 p.m. Friday night show in March on CKUA, which has always been a big supporter of his music.
“It’s every Friday night. I tape it in advance from my studio. I talk about the all the players who exited me and inspire me. And I talk about protest music,” he said, noting CKUA just did a show to officially release the new CD.
Leeroy Stagger and JJ Shiplett play a special show for the Geomatic Attic At Chinook High School Theatre, May 6. Tickets are $32.50. The show begins at 8 p.m.